Withaferin A alleviates traumatic brain injury induced secondary brain injury via suppressing apoptosis in endothelia cells and modulating activation in the microglia.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2020 May 5 ;874:172988. Epub 2020 Feb 4. PMID: 32032599
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health concern with high rates of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Currently used medications, though effective, are also associated with several adverse effects. Development of effective neuroprotective agents with fewer side-effects would be of clinical value. Previous studies have shown that withaferin compounds have a potential neuroprotective effect in nervous system disorders. However, the effect of withaferin compounds, especially withaferin A (WFA), on traumatic brain injury is unclear. In the present study, both in vivo and in vitro models were used to assess whether WFA could exert a neuroprotective effect after TBI and were used to explore the associated mechanisms. The results showed that WFA significantly improved neurobehavioral function in a dose-dependent fashion and alleviated histological alteration of injury to tissues in TBI mice. In vitro models of TBI revealed that dose-dependent WFA treatment increased the viability of SH-SY5Y cells. In addition, WFA treatment could attenuate blood-brain barrier disruption and brain edema via suppressing apoptosis in endothelial cells. Furthermore, both our in vivo and in vitro results reveal that WFA treatment could significantly reduce levels of several neuroinflammation cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α), which correlate with an overall reduction in microglial activation. These data suggest that the neuroprotection by WFA is, at least in part, related to regulation of microglial activation and inhibition of vascular endothelial cell apoptosis. Taken together, these findings support further investigation of WFA as a promising therapeutic agent for promoting functional recovery after traumatic brain injury.